The Kangaroos winning the RLWC is a foregone conclusion

Dr Chop Roar Guru

By Dr Chop, Dr Chop is a Roar Guru


113 Have your say

    I must preface this piece by saying that I for one am extremely excited for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup.

    I am not a hater. I love international rugby league, and as a Sydneysider, I think it’s a disgrace that the only two games in my city are Australia vs Lebanon and England vs Lebanon.

    I think Jason Taumalolo and Andy Fifita jumping ship to Tonga is fantastic. I love the new eligibility laws (as a short-term fix, I think loosening them now will allow them to be strengthened in the future without the standard of competition decreasing – that’s a discussion for another day) and I think there will be many awesome games and incredible moments.

    But let’s not kid ourselves here by pretending that anyone but the Kangaroos will win this thing.

    For days on this site I’ve been reading articles and comments from international league lovers like myself, full of that pre-tournament optimism about the other teams.

    Common sentiments include “I wouldn’t be surprised to see England win”, and “The Kiwis will shock many at this World Cup”.

    I even read this gem. “France could give Australia a real run for their money”.

    France? Give me a break.

    Allow me to spell it out for everyone. Any team that is not made up entirely of players with NRL and/or Super League experience is no chance. Not “next to no chance”. I mean literally.

    No. Chance.

    So with that in mind we can rule out USA, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Lebanon, Papua New Guinea, France and Italy.

    With all due respect to these nations, none of them would beat the Newcastle Knights if they had a player sent off in the first minute of the game.

    These nations will not beat any of the other nations. They will only beat each other.

    So what about the others? Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and the Big 3. To have six squads in the RLWC made up entirely of players with NRL/Super League experience is amazing. I never thought I’d see that.


    (NRL Photos/Grant Trouville)

    But it’s one thing to have a team made up of players who have played first grade. It’s something else completely to have a team made up entirely of current, elite first graders like Australia has.

    I believe that Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand and England will be competitive against each other, and while New Zealand and England would obviously be favourites, it wouldn’t shock me at all to see any one of these nations beat each other.

    This is not just due to the increased strength of Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, but also the fact that New Zealand are a lot weaker than usual, while England are about the same as they usually are.

    This is why I say that even New Zealand can’t beat Australia. Johnson is in a massive form slump. RTS hasn’t been great either. They have no Taumalolo, no Bromwich, no Proctor. That for me equals no hope.

    Samoa, Tonga and Fiji? They all have world-beaters in their team. The likes of Vunivalu, Fifita, Taumalolo and Papalii are all NRL superstars. These teams have many elite players, but none of them play in the spine which is why they will not challenge the Kangaroos.

    As for England? As a St George Illawarra fan I say discount the Bennett Factor at your own risk. They have some elite NRL players like Big Sam, Graham, Widdop and Josh Hodgson. But Australia has 24 elite NRL players!

    England's Sam Burgess (L) scores a try during the 2013 Rugby League World Cup semi-final match between England and New Zealand at Wembley Stadium in London on November 23, 2013. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK


    The Super League guys in the England team would all probably make it in the NRL. But I think very few would be genuine superstars.

    The Super League is a vastly inferior competition to the NRL. Many experts say it’s only slightly above the level of the Queensland Cup. I don’t believe that a squad of players from an inferior competition will be up to the task against the best of the best.

    The reason why Australia are so good is their spine. Smith, Cronk and Slater will pick apart teams who show any weakness. If they can do it against NSW, who have relatively few weaknesses, they will not struggle at all against teams made up of a mixture of superstars, first graders, and fringe first graders.

    Finally, I hope everyone enjoys the RLWC for what it is – an exhibition of rugby league talent from all over the world. As a contest for first place, it is lacking a fair bit. But the contest for second I believe will be absolutely enthralling, as will the contests for first place in groups C and D.

    We will see free-flowing, passionate rugby league that we arguably don’t see enough of in the NRL, and the simple fact that there will be rugby league until the start of December is awesome! But rather than pretending that this is something that it’s not, let’s just enjoy it for what it is.

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    The Crowd Says (113)

    • October 17th 2017 @ 4:58am
      Go warriors said | October 17th 2017 @ 4:58am | ! Report

      Dr Chop I think you are over estimating Australia. Yes they do have the best spine but Tonga have the best forward pack.

      The Aussies will have a very hard run to the final. They will likely play Samoa in the quarters which will be a physicaly tough battle. They then may have to play NZ in the semis. Write the Kiwis off at your own peril. The Kiwis have won every tournament played in NZ/ Australia in the last 10 years. They have beaten much better Australian sides than this one.

      If they do make it to the final then will be up against either a very spirited Tonga or England side. Australia will be favorites and deservedly so however it will be no walk in the park for them. They will be tested on many occasions.

      • October 17th 2017 @ 9:44am
        Dr Chop said | October 17th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        Well let’s compare the forward packs. The starting forwards for Australia will likely be Klemmer, Woods, Cordner, Gillet and Trobojevic, with Frizell, McGuire and Campbell-Gillard on the bench. Tonga’s will probably be something like Fifita, Moa, Sika Manu, Manu Ma’u and Taumalolo with Taukeiaho, Ta’ai and Murdoch-Masila on the bench. Maybe Ofahengaue, Pangai Jnr or Peni Terepo could get bench spots too instead of Ta’ai and Murdoch Masila.

        Yeah look that’s a bloody good forward pack. My concern is the Tongan bench though. I believe Tonga will match it with Australia for the first 20 or so, but as the subs come on Australia should wrestle back the momentum. The thing about Australia is there’s no drop-off in class on their bench. Frizell, McGuire are both starting 13 Origin players and Campbell-Gillard is at that level and will probably play next year. Of the Tongan bench I really rate Taukeiaho, but that’s about it. The others are NRL toilers/up-and-comers at best. That’ll serve them well against every other team, but not the Kangaroos.

        Finally I come back to the halves. Having a great forward pack will give a team plenty of opportunities, but the halves still need to take advantage of those opportunities. Tonga’s halves are not even close to Australia’s and that’s where I think it’ll be won.

      • October 17th 2017 @ 9:46am
        Dr Chop said | October 17th 2017 @ 9:46am | ! Report

        And as for your point about the Kiwis, when they are full-strength I agree with you they should not be taken lightly. But they are not even close to full strength. They could easily lose to Samoa and Tonga. Beating Australia for me is out of the question

    • October 17th 2017 @ 5:21am
      Ted said | October 17th 2017 @ 5:21am | ! Report

      Australia have lost enough tournaments in the last decade for this to be a foregone conclusion. If the author is so confident he should go to sportsbet and put his money where his mouth is. I bet you he won’t though.

      • October 17th 2017 @ 8:50am
        Raugeee said | October 17th 2017 @ 8:50am | ! Report

        Mate, Australia are already only paying $1.20 ! To have your money tied up for 6 weeks, even for a sure thing, isn’t worth it at those odds.

        • October 17th 2017 @ 9:19am
          Ted said | October 17th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

          Raugeee so if you put 100 grand down and you get 20k back after 5 weeks it is not worth it is it? Sure thing my a***.

          • October 17th 2017 @ 11:17am
            Rob9 said | October 17th 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

            You’re not a regular punter are you. $1.20 favourite with the next shortest priced favourite coming in at $8 is the gambling communities definition of a ‘sure thing’

            • October 17th 2017 @ 11:25am
              clipper said | October 17th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

              Contrast to the RWC where the All Blacks, who are regarded as a ‘sure thing’ are $2.10 and England are $5. $1.20 is so short, you hardly ever see it except at two sided events like tennis matches.

            • October 17th 2017 @ 11:29am
              Go warriors said | October 17th 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

              Well if it was a sure thing you would have investors and anybody with money betting on it. Anyone knows though in sport there is no such thing as a sure thing. Upsets happen all the time and I think there will be plenty come this world cup.

              • October 17th 2017 @ 11:40am
                Rob9 said | October 17th 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

                Of course there are upsets. It kind of goes without saying that no result in sport is certain. Hence why people bet on it. But as said, the RLWC is an example of a sporting event where there is a crystal clear overwhelming favourite.

              • October 17th 2017 @ 3:16pm
                clipper said | October 17th 2017 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

                Go warriors – it’s the risk of the stake. Going by your take on it, you would have investors and anybody with money betting on every Federer or Nadal match because of favourable odds – but the stake you have to put up to get that return may be too much of a risk – saying that, I’ve never seen such short odds for a tournament with over 12 teams – shows how uncompetitive it has become – it would’ve been much more even 50 or so years ago.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 10:29am
                Sport lover said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:29am | ! Report

                All codes, all codes, all codes. ?

                How is the AFL World Cup going in its preparations?

      • October 26th 2017 @ 8:41am
        Chook said | October 26th 2017 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        Well we can dream that those effin Bs get torn a new one but I personally don’t see it

    • October 17th 2017 @ 7:50am
      Dean said | October 17th 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      DR Chop. While it’s not the politically correct thing saying Australia will win the WC without too much fuss, I sort of agree with you. Sure, NZ pulled of an upset a few years ago, but I doubt the Aussies will let that happen again. You only have to look at the end score in the WC final against the Kiwis in the last tournament. If I was a Sydneysider, I too would be disappointed with the two matches allocated to your city. Shameful. Here in Melbourne next weekend we get to see the Kangaroos take on England. No disrespect to Lebanon, but it doesn’t quite illicit the same excitement. Maybe in a few years time some of these smaller nations can fight it out for third and fourth place. But until then, I will sit back and still enjoy the spectacle of these smaller RL nations having a red hot go in the games they are in. After all, they are all representing their heritage.

      • Roar Guru

        October 17th 2017 @ 9:48am
        Sleiman Azizi said | October 17th 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        Sydney didn’t offer the IRLF a decent bid for any of the matches.

        The only reason the SFS have two matches is because they put in a separate bid and the IRLF accepted it.

        Lebanon and France may hold out Australia and England for half the match but watch the professional experience of those big guns surge away in the last half of the match.

        Group A is most definitely a battle for 3rd place by Lebanon and France.

        • October 17th 2017 @ 9:55am
          Dr Chop said | October 17th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

          Thanks Sleiman, I wasn’t aware of the reason. The point I was trying to make with my comments about the lack of Sydney matches is that I’m not a world cup-hater and I don’t want it to seem like I’m being negative about the whole thing – cause I’m not. I’m just being negative about the final result.

          The tournament as a whole will be great, but Lebanon and France I’m sorry to say will not be holding out Australia or England for any significant amount of time. Especially France. With no NRL experience and limited top-line Super League experience, their players will be overwhelmed by the physicality and battle-hardenedness of Australia and England.

          • Roar Guru

            October 17th 2017 @ 10:32am
            Sleiman Azizi said | October 17th 2017 @ 10:32am | ! Report

            Hence my italicizing of the word may hold out.

            • October 17th 2017 @ 10:48am
              Dr Chop said | October 17th 2017 @ 10:48am | ! Report

              But that’s my point. Why pretend like it’s a possibility when it’s clearly not?

              • Roar Guru

                October 17th 2017 @ 1:32pm
                Sleiman Azizi said | October 17th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

                Because it is a possibility.

              • October 17th 2017 @ 3:10pm
                Justin Kearney said | October 17th 2017 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

                Not a probability but a possibility. Therein lies the difference.

              • October 17th 2017 @ 3:31pm
                Dr Chop said | October 17th 2017 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

                New Zealand or England pushing/beating Australia is a possibility. France beating or pushing Australia is not. A team made up of a few players from the super league, a few players from the championship, and a few players from the French league will get absolutely creamed by Australia. That’s a fact. This is rugby league. In soccer you can be dominated all game and grab a lucky goal for a win or a draw. In rugby league if you get physically dominated, and with a such a gulf in class between 2 teams, the lesser team is literally no chance

              • Roar Guru

                October 18th 2017 @ 5:57am
                Sleiman Azizi said | October 18th 2017 @ 5:57am | ! Report

                Weaker teams push stronger teams all the time.

                Then the fitness and structures of the stronger teams come to the fore after 40-60 minutes and that’s the end of it.

                I said Lebanon and France MAY push Australia.

                I didn’t say they would, let alone anything about winning.

                It will be interesting to see how well the weaker teams can keep their composure under the Australian onslaught of professionalism.

              • October 17th 2017 @ 4:09pm
                Fred said | October 17th 2017 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

                This time last year 99% of people would have said Scotland holding New Zealand to a draw in the Four Nations would be “literally no chance”

              • October 17th 2017 @ 5:35pm
                Dr Chop said | October 17th 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

                Fred. Not true, I wouldn’t have said that, although I would have said it about Scotland and Australia for sure. You’re missing my point. I’m not saying upsets won’t happen, I’m saying they won’t happen against Australia.

              • October 17th 2017 @ 4:15pm
                clipper said | October 17th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

                Fred – it’s hardly a ‘Scottish team’- only 2 players in the entire squad were born there – the only eligibility seems to be that you have had to have tried a deep fried mars bar.

              • Roar Guru

                October 18th 2017 @ 5:52am
                Sleiman Azizi said | October 18th 2017 @ 5:52am | ! Report

                You probably need to read the eligibility rules then.

              • October 17th 2017 @ 4:53pm
                Fred said | October 17th 2017 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

                Clipper, should have known you’d be drawn to another league article – as you already know players must have at least a grandparent from the country they are representing or qualify on residency. Similar to numerous other sports. Give it up.

                Anyway that’s of no relevance to the point – the team was given no chance against any of the big 3 and every commentator predicted they’d receive three merciless floggings from the big 3. They held NZ to a draw and were unlucky not to beat them.

    • October 17th 2017 @ 8:34am
      Raugeee said | October 17th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

      When NZ beat the Kangaroos 3 times in a row 2014>2015 I remember they had a rampant Shaun Kenny-Dowall playing. He was a particular Kiwi with a really positive hatred for the Australian team. His attitude seemed to keep the Kiwis on the front foot and the Kangaroos back pedalling. He’s no longer there. Neither is “The Beast” Manu Vatuvai – he was the only one on the 2013 final that played like it meant something. Look at the bench the Kiwis had in the 2015 Anzac Test – Leuluai, Tapau, Moa, Eastwood – that is quality! The Kiwis have nowhere near that strength right now, add to that Shaun Johnson being out form and the chance of them keeping the Kangaroos within 16 points would be about even money. I also don’t believe David Kidwell has the respect of the troops, that’s merely conjecture but the efforts by the Kiwis in the Anzac Test this year was deplorable. Even old Sam Thaiday had a few easy canters. The only thing in the Kiwis favour is that Aaron Woods is a likely starter for Australia. He is the Kangaroos losing talisman.

      I am really looking forward to the Tonga v Samoa game Sat 4 November in Hamilton. That should be a blinder.

      • October 17th 2017 @ 2:07pm
        Stu said | October 17th 2017 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

        Why does everyone keep saying Shaun Johnson is out of form? He was out injured and until that time was the warriors best player for the year… 1st in NRL try assists up until that point

        • October 17th 2017 @ 2:14pm
          Raugeee said | October 17th 2017 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

          I was basing that comment on his form v Kangaroos the last couple of times. There isn’t a SOO equivalent to gauge how Kiwis are travelling at rep level.

        • Roar Guru

          October 18th 2017 @ 6:01am
          Sleiman Azizi said | October 18th 2017 @ 6:01am | ! Report

          Johnson keeps getting blamed by everyone for having a weak forward pack.

          Perhaps some people are still having a sook that he won the Golden Boot award.

          Johnson is a mercurial freak who is basically the only person keeping that Warriors team of his together.

          Hugely underrated.

          • October 18th 2017 @ 10:46am
            Raugeee said | October 18th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

            Johnson had a shocker in this years Anzac match. Amazingly NZ were still in it at 24 -12 in the second half. Kangaroos had a goal line drop out. Johnson positions himself under it and then ….. drops it cold. End of Match. Anyway, what about the other points I made in my post?

            • Roar Guru

              October 18th 2017 @ 2:44pm
              Sleiman Azizi said | October 18th 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

              You mean top line players can’t make mistakes? Yeesh, guv.

              Which points?

    • Roar Guru

      October 17th 2017 @ 9:13am
      Nat said | October 17th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      I tend to agree that Australia will take home the trophy, however, I’m glad the author highlighted the Origin because it proves that the best team on paper isn’t necessarily the best team. The beauty is that all teams get a few games to sharpen their plays before the finals, then who knows. Even if it is a foregone conclusion, the fact it will be one of the most competitive WC’s in a long time means it will be entertaining.

    • October 17th 2017 @ 9:45am
      Paul said | October 17th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      Dr Chop

      A couple of points. I’m sorry you’re “disgusted” there aren’t more WC games in Sydney but you guys get well over 150 games to attend, including ANZAC Tests, SOS, etc – every year. It’s not such a headship is it for people in other centres to watch a quality game live while you watch on TV, is it?

      Upsets are part and parcel of any sport and Rugby League has had many over the years. Australia is a lock to make the final but once they get there, they are no guarantees. If they’re down on their game, if the game is close and a decision goes against them – there goes the World Cup.

      • October 17th 2017 @ 9:50am
        Dr Chop said | October 17th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        I am disgusted actually yeah. I understand the final and the semis being elsewhere. They could at least throw us a quarter final or some better pool matches. To have the choice of seeing Lebanon or Lebanon is a bit annoying. I’d much rather see minnows vs minnows where the result is unpredictable rather than 2 games that are both foregone conclusions.

        • October 17th 2017 @ 2:08pm
          Stu said | October 17th 2017 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

          Auckland hasn’t hosted an International game since 2012, Auckland has far more right than any Australian city to be disgusted. 2 Anzac tests in 27 years…

        • October 17th 2017 @ 2:20pm
          Peter Phelps said | October 17th 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

          I am disgusted that there is only 1 game in Melbourne and a massively overpriced one at that (due to the opening ceremony). Given the fact that Melbourne will sell out for any WCC game it is a shame.

          Its about time Sydney fans pulled their heads in. They have massive advantages for watching their sport on the cheap at frequent intervals. Regular games, is there ever a week goes by in the normal season when there isn’t at least one game in Sydney ?…… NO!

          Then there is Origin as well as how many international games ?

          I am a life long die hard league fan who by accident finds himself in Melbourne watching only 11 live games a year. I am not complaining about that but when Sydneysiders start whinging, then I get angry.

          • October 17th 2017 @ 3:12pm
            Justin Kearney said | October 17th 2017 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

            $80 is not overpriced.

            • October 17th 2017 @ 10:39pm
              Peter Phelps said | October 17th 2017 @ 10:39pm | ! Report

              Prices of Sydney based games as published by the NRL a year ago

              “Tickets* start at $10 for kids and concession card holders and $20 for adults, while a family of four can see World Cup action from as little as $45.”

              and I never saw any tickets in melbourne as cheap as $80 (think mine were about $140 each).

              • October 17th 2017 @ 10:45pm
                Justin Kearney said | October 17th 2017 @ 10:45pm | ! Report

                I am travelling with a party of 35 and we bought tickets for $80 each without any trouble about a month ago peter. Must have sold out. There were alot available back then.

          • October 17th 2017 @ 3:27pm
            Cathar Treize said | October 17th 2017 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

            Melbourne also gets a Quarter Final on Sunday Nov 19, 4pm kickoff!

        • October 17th 2017 @ 3:43pm
          Johnno said | October 17th 2017 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

          well then what, should the world cup just become the 4 nations then